New Zealand Under 20 side named for World Rugby U20 Championship opener

New Zealand Under 20 side named for World Rugby U20 Championship opener against Japan kick off 8pm on Wednesday.

New Zealand Under 20 Head Coach Craig Philpott said the team has adjusted well in France and players were looking forward to their first match.

“We were travelling for the best part of 40 hours so arrived here reasonably jaded. We’ve had three or four days to get our feet on the ground and some really good training runs and we’re in pretty good shape to come out and perform against Japan,” he said.

In selecting the team for the first match against Japan, Philpott said workload management was at front of mind.

“We’ve got five Test matches in 19 days and a squad of 28; you need to make sure you manage combinations so that you get the very best out of all 28 players. Over these first two games we want to make sure everybody gets an opportunity to contribute and so we are managing the workload accordingly.”

The New Zealand Under 20 team will be looking to continue their form that saw them go through the Oceania Championship undefeated.

“We haven’t had a chance to see any footage of Japan play so the focus has been on us; we’ve been working on our structures in attack and defence and getting them back in place, making sure everyone is really clear how we want to play the game.”

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